JAGATSINGHPUR: Delay in disbursement of election material and the prevailing heat wave have irked polling personnel in the Jagatsinghpur Parliamentary constituency and its Assembly segments.
As many as 16 personnel on election duty were taken ill due to the heat wave on Saturday. As many as 7,329 polling personnel have been pressed into election duty in the Parliamentary constituency which will go to polls in the last phase on April 29. The district administration had directed all polling personnel to join duty by 10 am on the day. Later, the time was revised to 7 am. Thousands of personnel had lined up in front of counters by 6.30 am but no official turned up for at least 2 hours.
Due to intense heat wave, 16 polling personnel were taken ill and shifted to the district headquarters hospital for treatment. Two of them- Hemant Kumar Mishra and Surendra Biswal - were later shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack as their condition worsened.
A polling officer Ashok Pradhan, who was waiting in front of the joining counter at Balikuda said, “I have been standing in queue since 7 am but the officials came at 9 am.” Unable to bear the heat, Pradhan collapsed and was taken to hospital. He alleged large scale irregularities in disbursement of EVMs and VVPATs in the district.
Despite the difficulties, EVMs and VVPATs were moved to 1,047 polling booths set up at four Assembly constituencies of Jagatsinghpur district amidst tight security. The election materials were stored in strong rooms set up at SVM College, Jagatsinghpur. The district administration has made elaborate security arrangements for smooth conduct of elections in the district, said an official.